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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 July, 2005, 07:31 GMT 08:31 UK
Hunger strike stopped by Britons
Ian Nisbet, Reza Pankhurst and Maajid Nawaz
Ian Nisbet, Reza Pankhurst and Maajid Nawaz were held in 2002
Three Britons jailed for promoting a banned Islamic group in Egypt have suspended a hunger strike after two weeks refusing food.

Ian Nisbet and Reza Pankhurst, from London, and Maajid Nawaz, from Essex, were accused of trying to revive Hizb al-Tahrir (Islamic Liberation Party).

The men were held in 2002 and sentenced to five years imprisonment last March.

The Foreign Office said the hunger strike was suspended on Monday and it is now applying for a consular visit.

Nisbet, 30, of Upton Park, east London and Pankhurst, 29, are computer consultants, while Nawaz, 27, from Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, is an undergraduate studying Arabic and law.

Forced confessions

The men have claimed they have been tortured and that they have received death threats from the prison's governor.

The families of the men say they signed confessions extracted under torture and written in Arabic which they could not understand.

They also claim the books found on them, which the court said were illegal, were found to be on sale in a book fair in Cairo.

Stephen Jakobi, from Fair Trials Abroad, told BBC News: "The worst of it of course is the governor of the jail is alleged to have threatened them for some reason or another with death.

This whole case is a bit of a disgrace
Stephen Jakobi from Fair Trials Abroad

"It requires a proper investigation by the Foreign Office and proper statements made to the Egyptian authorities in the right quarters.

"This whole case is a bit of a disgrace."

A spokesman for the Foreign Office refused to give details of the men's condition saying: "The men suspended their hunger strike yesterday [Monday].

"They were visited by consular officials on 14 July and we are now applying to visit them again."

The Hizb al-Tahrir was founded in 1953 and seeks to put all Muslim countries under a single Islamic state. It is legal and active in the UK.

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